Meat, vegetables, dairy, dried goods and more: know where to store what in the refrigerator to help them last longer.
1. The temperature of the fridge should be kept at 3 degC or below to ensure bacteria doesn't multiply.
2. Rotate food in your fridge so that the first in is also the first out.
3. Always wait for food to cook before storing them in the fridge.
4. Keep your fridge clean.
5. Defrost meat overnight in the lowest compartment with a tray to contain any liquids to prevent bacteria growth.
6. Store meat in the lowest compartment of the fridge as it is the coldest section. This also prevents their juices from leaking onto the other foods.
7. Alternatively, they can be individually portioned and frozen in lowest compartment of the freezer.
Read also: Tips for storing food in your freezer
8. Try to separate your meat, poultry and seafood to avoid cross contamination.
Read also: 6 must-know food safety tips
9. Raw meats can be stored for about four days, cooked meats for about three.
10. These should be stored in the upper compartment of the fridge in airtight containers or re-sealable plastic bags. In the case of milk, they can be stored in the re-sealable cartons.
11. Soft cheeses like Brie or mozzarella should be kept in airtight containers once opened. Harder cheeses can be wrapped up in wax or parchment paper then into a re-sealable bag.
Fruits and vegetables
Some fruits release ethylene gas, which causes vegetables to prematurely spoil. This store fruits and vegetables separately in the upper compartment of the fridge or in the dedicated fruit and vegetables compartments.
12. Store gas releasing fruits like avocadoes, bananas, peaches, tomatoes and plums out of the fridge.
13. Other fruits can be stored in the fridge but keep them away from the vegetables.
14. Here's a list of fruits and vegetables that should not be in the fridge:
- Bananas: their skin turns black in the fridge, though the flesh is still fine.
- Tomatoes: they lose all their flavour in the fridge as the ripening process is stopped. Their texture is also altered. Keep them on the counter instead.
- Unripe avocadoes: the ripening process is also stopped by the fridge
- Potatoes: the fridge converts their starch into sugar more quickly, resulting gritty potatoes. Store them in a cool dark place instead.
- Onions: like tomatoes, the fridge alters their texture. Plus they tend to stink up the area around them.
- Garlic: these will start sprouting or turn rubbery in the fridge.
Nuts, granola and muesli
15. These should be kept away from light, heat and moisture. They need not be stored in the fridge and freezer but they could be if kept in glass or plastic containers. These can be kept from half a year to a year.
16. These can be kept in the top or middle shelf and in airtight, leak-proof containers. A good tip is to label them with the date so you know when you should get rid of them by.
Read also: Store leftover food properly
17. Dried foodstuffs like dried shrimp and ikan billis should be inspected regularly for insect infestations and mouldiness, as they are susceptible to such spoilage. They are also vulnerable to moisture reabsorption so they must be properly packaged and stored immediately in clear, dry jars or containers with tight-fitting lids in the fridge. A tip is to separate them into portions that can be used all at once to reduce exposure of the entire product at once.
Foods with a strong smell
18. Items like fermented bean paste or kimchi should be kept in glass bowls with a sturdy lid, or thick-walled storage containers. These pungent foods should also not be touching anything in the fridge, even if they are stored in containers.
19. Baking soda can be used to keep fridge odour at bay.
Read also: 4 tips on maintaining your refrigerator
Locations in the fridge
20. This area of the fridge has the highest temperature fluctuations so highly perishable foods should no the stored here. Condiments, juices and more survivable foodstuffs can be stored here. Milk and eggs should not be stored here even though most fridges have compartments for the: they both should be placed in colder regions of the fridge.
Read also: How to take care of your fridge
21. If your fridge comes with multiple chilled drawers, use one for vegetables and one for meat. If they're vertically stacked, use the lower one for meat to prevent contamination via dripping. The drawer used for meat should be cleaned often.
Tips from Chef Lua Chang Yung, Culinary Instructor, Diploma in Culinary & Catering Management, School of Business, Temasek Polytechnic.
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